Are you purchasing or selling a residential property and would like to know the Shire’s current requirements on unauthorised buildings or structures?
Below are some frequently asked questions, and answers which may assist you.

I’m buying or selling a property; how do I know if everything on the property is approved?

You can obtain copies of the Approved Plans by clicking through to the Copies of Approved Plans page.

I’m buying or selling a property; how do I know if the buildings are compliant?

There are no local government mandatory inspections for residential construction in Western Australia. An option to obtain technical expertise and peace of mind would be to employ someone technically competent to assess the approved plans against what has been constructed while also inspecting the building for any concerning defects. These professionals will usually provide a written report for you. We would recommend one of the following:

Can that person inspect unauthorised work, or be engaged privately to do this?

No, unfortunately, the Shire’s Registered Building Surveyor does not engage in private work.

I know that the Approved Plans do not match what has been constructed, what do I do?

It is recommended to engage the services of a Registered Private Building Surveyor to undertake an inspection and then work towards obtaining a Certificate of Building Compliance (CBC). Once the CBC has been obtained an application for Building Approval Certificate from the Shire can be lodged. This will then legitimise the unauthorised construction.
The unauthorised construction can be removed; however, a Demolition Permit may be required. Additionally, a Licenced Demolition Holder may be required to undertake the work.
You may wish to leave it as is, and there may be no current flagged issues. However, there is no guarantee that this will not become a compliance issue in the future, depending on the risk, a complaint, or direction from Council or Management.

What if it’s just a shed and it’s old, been there for more than 25 years and it’s still fine?

Currently the Shire is not searching for old unauthorised Class 10 Sheds & Patio’s which are only used for personal residential purposes, however you need to be aware that it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure the safety of occupants on a property. You should also be aware that should damage occur to another property with flying debris in high winds, you as the owner may also be liable.

I want to use my residential dwelling for a holiday home but I think there has been some unauthorised work done, some examples could be:

- There is an extra bedroom to that approved on the plans;
- There has been a patio added to what was on the approved plans;
- There has been a garden shed built between the boundary and the dwelling (which has compromised fire separation).

If you are proposing to change the use from private residential purposes to a holiday home, or short-stay accommodation, the Development Application will be referred to and assessed by Building Services. Any unauthorised building work will be required to obtain a Building Approval Certificate, alternatively, the unauthorised additions will need to be removed and evidence provided prior to the Development Application Approval.

Can I still sell my property with unauthorised structures/buildings/internal alterations on it which should have obtained Shire approval?

Yes you can, but you are required to declare any unauthorised structures/buildings/internal alterations which would have required Shire approval

I bought the property like this, I didn’t realise there was unauthorised work done, who is responsible?

Once you purchase a property with any existing buildings or structures, you have purchased any problems that come with it. 

It is the current owner’s liability, similar to purchasing a second-hand vehicle.

Information accurate as of 04/01/2024